A curious anomaly of the lands around and near the Mangrove Maze combine with the influence of its fiendish overlord to create a wondrous—and extremely dangerous—rolling set of hills and plains known as the Dreaming Fields. The preponderance of rooted swamp plants surrounding the area create a semi-permeable subterranean boundary, turning the entire locale into a massive island of sod that floats atop a huge pool of muck and mud that makes for soil abundant with nutrients when flora can take hold in the dirt. Unwary travelers have been known to get sucked down into the mud beneath (sometimes while asleep) and though it is a truly lethal place avoided by much of the local wildlife, certain rare plants ensure that the Dreaming Fields are never completely bereft of sentient life.
The Rolling The contiguous sod that comprises the Dreaming Fields is between 5 ft. and 8 ft. thick (or 1d4+4 ft.) depending where one stands, constantly spongy and moist wherever it is stepped upon. Movements of creatures in the muck below (some of which can erupt directly from beneath) and massive pockets of swamp gas cause the are to roil and ripple, making it constantly undulate ever so slightly. A DC 16 Perception check notices the wave-motions of the firma, giving any creature that notices the anomaly is inspired with lethargy, taking a -4 penalty on saving throws made to resist sleep effects.
The Plunging Not the firmest of earthwork to tread atop of, the Dreaming Fields often swallow up creatures that spend too long standing in the same spot. Any creature carrying a medium load or heavy load sinks 2 feet into the sod after remaining stationary for 1 minute, falling another 2 ft. after another minute if not pulled out (requiring a DC 20 Strength check but potentially causing another creature to plunge) or when they fail a DC 20 Reflex save to extricate themselves. Creatures that make a jump check of a distance greater than 5 feet automatically sink 2 ft. into the sod of the Dreaming Fields (and may sink farther if not extricated).
Mentis Quie (“living spores”) This narcotic flower is used by the nearby clergy of the Current and is highly sought after by alchemists across the land, but it only grows in this dangerous territory of the Vast Swamp. [It also plays a central role to a recent plot by the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.ER.S.; tune in for Magic Item Monday to find out more! —MM]
Dreaming Terror HauntCR 8 XP 4,800 Persistent NE haunt (40 ft. by 40 ft. grove) Caster Level 9th Notice Perception DC 20 (to smell the scent of burning human flesh) hp 36; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect The dreaming terror haunt exists in the Dreaming Fields area of the Mangrove Maze where the living spores of mentis quie are most prominent. Creatures entering the dreaming terror haunt’s area must make a DC 20 Will save or fall into a magically induced slumber for 1d4 minutes. While in this slumber, affected creatures witness a distorted version of reality similar to that of the Plane of Shadow. Additionally, sleeping creatures must make another DC 20 Will save or be plagued by unsettling spectral visions of demonic versions of their family and friends attacking them, becoming fatigued and taking 1d10 points of damage upon waking from the nightmarish slumber. Arcane spellcasters are unable to regain spell slots or prepare spells for 24 hours after succumbing to the dreaming terror haunt.
Destruction The dreaming terror haunt can only be destroyed by making a DC 20 Survival check to locate the remains of an acolyte that was burned alive by the Mud King for standing against him and casting bless on the burial area to free the tormented spirit.
Background Darius was a young acolyte in service to the great cabal of mages that unsuccessfully tried to murder the Mud King. While those mages suffered their own ill fate at the hands of the demon (being transformed into minotoyles) Darius was the recipient of a much more psychologically horrifying fate that continues to torment his spirit to the this day; to punish him To punish the Mud King’s minions built a pyre of living mentis quie spores upon which to burn Darius alive. The fiendish lord cast an illusion upon the mage’s mind to make him believe that the Mud King’s servants were his own family and friends, and then beat Darius and tied him to a stake atop the pyre before setting it ablaze. As the smoky vapors generated by the burning spores of the mentis quie swirled and danced around Darius’ body within the flames, his mind perceived the onlooker to be his family and friends laughing at the spectacle of his demise. Whether it was the abyssal magic of the Mud King, the burning of the exotic local flora, or the combination of the two is not clear, but the mage’s spirit has been trapped on a plane of dreams lost for all time (a land known as Alucinar) until someone else sees fit to perform the rites necessary to allow him the eternal peace he now deserves.